Meet Captain Dave and the Dolphin Safari Team

Dave and Gisele

Your guide, Coast Guard licensed Captain Dave Anderson, is an experienced marine naturalist, award winning filmmaker and author, photographer, speaker and conservationist.

He’ll teach you about Dana Point, the whales who visit and the many dolphin who live here, as well as introduce you to a few of our other local marine friends like our California Sea Lions and Brown Pelicans.

Read Dave’s poem on dolphins.

In 1995 Capt. Dave Anderson was living aboard his sailboat in Dana Point, California and bringing people out to see whales and dolphins for his business, ‘Capt Dave’s Dolphin Safari’. When he told the other boaters what he saw out there, they were amazed. “That’s when it hit me, “ said Capt. Dave, “If they don’t know what is out there, then who does?”

Captain Dave mounted an underwater camera and hydrophone on the bow of his boat and began taking his cameras on every trip to record what his passengers experienced first-hand. It took him five years to create the documentary “Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California”, learning how to film, edit and narrate as he went along, an experience that has forever changed his life.
Captain Dave

Most of Capt. Dave’s documentary was filmed on consumer digital video recorders (all he could afford at the time) and the first camera he used was actually a hand-me-down VHS-C from his wife’s parents. Much of his footage is breathtakingly beautiful, a tour-de-force in garage filmmaking. It’s amazing what a few cameras, one home computer upgraded umpteen times and thousands of hours from one man’s life can accomplish.


Captain Dave

While Captain Dave’s primary responsibility was to his passengers and his business, his passion to film these animals carried over into his off hours, with many nights spent working into the wee hours editing. “The average Joe can be a filmmaker,” said Capt. Dave. “Nowadays, it doesn’t take money, as much as it takes desire and time…lots of time.”

Frequently called upon as an authority on wild dolphins and whales in this area, Capt. Dave is also a popular speaker, entertaining and educating a wide variety of audiences, from volunteer groups to marine mammal enthusiasts and school groups.

Capt. Dave has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as local network affiliates and the Travel Channel. His photographs have appeared on the cover of newspapers and magazines and have appeared on special exhibit at various locales. He also worked with filmmaker Greg McGillivray for the IMAX film Dolphins, helping to locate large herds of dolphin.

Capt. Dave has traveled throughout California talking to other skippers and whale researchers to gain additional footage, as well as to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, the South Pacific and French Polynesia to learn more about the animals he encounters
from those who study them.

Committed to promoting awareness of Southern California’s ocean, Capt. Dave introduced and organized the first Ocean Awareness Day, now an annual event during the Dana Point Festival of Whales.

Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and was hands-on with Lily the Gray Whale’s disentanglement in 2010 that made national headlines. To raise awareness Capt. Dave authored the award winning book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey”, a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale’s migration. He has has been featured on the Ellen Show and on CBS Morning News for his conservation efforts and his success in disentangling whales.

“The Southern California coast is alive”, says Capt. Dave and now, after five years, viewers can see it for themselves.

Meet the Dolphin Safari team!

Everyone on the Dolphin Safari team is very special to us and each person contributes to the sense of family we have and friendliness we love to share. Here we are at our last Employee Recognition Night. This is where we read all the great comments our passengers take the time to write about us. Thanks to all of you who take the time, it really means a lot to us!

Dolphin Safari Team, Sept 2014

Who is who?
Clockwise from the back:
Marie, Kim, Jacque, Denielle, Val, Capt. Chuck, Mark, Capt. Tom, Capt. Steve, Danielle, Robyn, Randi, Karen, Shannon, Gisele (Mrs. Capt. Dave), Arielle, Capt. Dave.
Not pictured: Capt. George, Capt. Peter, Dale, Joy, Craig.